> Rule One: Take Opportunities

Rule One: Take Opportunities

Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2012 | No Comments

When my career in the world of IT Support inevitably comes to an end, the only real thing I want to replace it is being able to become a blogger full time.

It’s perhaps no surprise though; I have a number of favourite writers – such as the talented Sarah Lacy, Paul Carr, Jeremy Clarkson and Charlie Brooker (and I’m sure they are many more I could name too!).  Whilst I’m under no illusion that it has to be a difficult career to pursue, yet alone master and become a big name like the aforementioned superstars, the profession, looking in from the outside, appears to be a lot of fun and provides all of the benefits of being able to work from anywhere in the world and being able to work on your own time and terms (give or take the deadlines and skill to always provide great content).

t this moment in time though, I know that I don’t quite have the skillset to reach the dizzying heights of actually being published on some great platform where I can attract the page views and readership I can only dream of.I blog here because it’s an outlet for my views that I can express to the world and it gives me some level of satisfaction hitting the ‘Publish’ button at the end of making my viewpoint known. 

In the meantime though, I have bit of a dream job for a company that I am awfully fond of and as well as having a great boss (the same guy who gave me my very first job 10 years ago!), it provides me with a great challenge and satisfaction at the end of every week (I’m not going to pretend things are always rosy, because that’s just not true).

Watching the news this evening, the main report was that youth unemployment is at an all time low in the UK and they interviewed a number of young jobseekers who were affected by the shortage of paying jobs and it struck a nerve.

Being young and getting a a job has never been an easy thing – the balance of qualifications and ‘on the job’ experience cannot be achieved without someone giving you that experience; that was true when I was first starting out and it’s true now.  But there are no excuses; when I was at college, I was also working for free in an IT department to boost my skillset and experience ready for the search for a job (I was fortunate in that the company I gained that experience eventually hired me). 

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to interview some hopeful candidates for an apprentice role (with the added benefit of working directly with me), and I was struck by just how uninterested these potential young candidates were in securing the position that was on offer.  Admittedly it wasn’t paying much money, but it’s certainly a lot more than the free work I did when I was in their position.

The problem is that these candidates just simply couldn’t see the opportunity that was being placed right in front of them and therefore they arrived ill prepared and uninterested in putting themselves ‘out there’ to get the chance.The main reason for this, in my mind, is two fold; first they are the generation that believes that good things will simply be delivered to them on a plate and in healthy doses too – like the “X Factor” or Zuckerberg/Facebook instant fame should be delivered to them too and that they should have “instant success” in what they are doing.  The second reason, I believe, is that they simply don’t want to put in the hard work required.

Let me give you an example; when we finally selected a candidate from the applicants and hired him (naming no names), his initial interest in the role went downhill almost instantly when it became apparent that a job in IT wasn’t quite as easy as he thought and that work was going to be required to get to the levels expected of him – and has now almost given up – a few times this past week, I’ve caught him with his head on the desk in a bid to ignore what is going on around him – and when questioned about it, has woken up and gone back to surfing around on the Internet and pretending to be busy.

As his supervisor, and being as cunning as I am, I’ve found a way to close out those sites and focus his attention; and hell I’m not saying that I don’t spend any time on the Internet, look at my stats and you’ll see and endless assault on PandoDaily, the occasional visit to TechCrunch and the like, but when I was that age, I was out to prove myself and that’s what has got me to where I am today as “IT Systems Manager” – a flashy title that I am embarrassed to tell people I actually have, but I am extremely proud of it by the same token because I believe I have worked hard to achieve it and everything that goes with it.

No instant satisfaction.
No X Factor/Zuckerberg moment.
No easy way, other than hard work.

And these are exactly the same reasons why I know that if I ever did want to become a successful blogger, I’d have to work just as hard as I have to achieve what I have today to get to where I would want to be in that field.  No head against the desk and no instant expectations – but maximising opportunities and working hard.

Perhaps the unemployed youth, with their ample amount of opportunities that the Internet and belief in the “entrepreneurial way” the modern day seems to look towards, would be able to do so much better…..just realise the opportunity, aim high and work hard.

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